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Do You Need To Modify An Existing Court Order?

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After a New Jersey divorce judgment has been rendered, the circumstances of the divorced parties may change. For example, suppose that a divorced couple has split custody of their children and a work opportunity leads to one of the parents relocating to another state. The child custody order may need to be reconsidered in light of the new geographical circumstances at play.

Simply put: changing circumstances can lead to the modification of an existing divorce judgment. A divorce judgment — otherwise referred to as a divorce decree — is not a static matter, and for good reason. It would be unreasonable for the fact-specific details of a divorce judgment to be “locked in” to the variables (financial, psychological, social, etc.) as they were at the time of judgment.

At any time after a final divorce judgment has been rendered in New Jersey, one of the parties to a divorce may request a modification. If circumstances have changed in your life and you’d like to request a modification — or if your ex-spouse is attempting to modify the terms of your divorce — you should consult with an experienced New Jersey family law attorney for further guidance.

Call Joseph Nitti, Esq. of Nitti & Nitti, P.C. at 973-852-3041 to speak with a qualified New Jersey divorce modification lawyer today. Our experienced attorneys have decades of experience representing clients in divorce cases throughout New Jersey, including Livingston, Caldwell and Florham Park.

Common Types Of Modifications To New Jersey Divorce Judgments

Divorce judgments can be modified in several ways, depending on the circumstances. Consider the following commonly requested modifications.

Visitation And Custody

As a foundational matter, New Jersey family courts make child custody and child visitation determinations for the advancement of the best interests of the child. Child custody and visitation terms are not established for the benefit of the parents. As such, existing child custody and visitation terms can be modified if circumstances change in such a way as to affect the best interests of the child:

  • Relocation of one of the parents
  • Job involving a high volume of travel or heavy-handed scheduling changes
  • Introduction of an additional party (i.e., boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, family member or friend) who could negatively impact the child
  • Severe illness or injury
  • Demonstrated decline in the child’s psychological health, social health or educational performance

Child Support And Spousal Support

Just as with child custody and visitation, child support determinations primarily consider the best interests of the child. Spousal support — also known as alimony — does not require such consideration.

Any significant change involving an ex-spouse’s financial situation could ultimately justify an increase/decrease in one’s support obligations, or even termination of one’s support obligations. These changed circumstances include:

  • Sudden financial windfall (i.e., inheritance, sale of assets, prize winnings, etc.)
  • Sudden medical expenses due to illness/injury
  • Education expenses and loans
  • New, higher-earning career
  • Significant raise and/or promotion at existing career
  • Unemployment for a substantial period of time
  • Bankruptcy

Consult With Our Experienced Family Law Attorneys

If your circumstances have changed, or if your ex-spouse’s circumstances are now different, a modification of the existing divorce judgment may be justified. Challenging the divorce judgment — and securing a modification that reasonably adjusts the terms of the divorce — can be difficult, however. The party seeking modification must provide ample evidence demonstrating a change in circumstances that supports their request.

Whether you’re putting forth a request for modification, or defending against such a request, the success of your efforts will depend a great deal on the ability of your attorney to persuasively advocate your position. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Essex County, New Jersey divorce attorney, call Joseph Nitti, Esq at Nitti & Nitti, P.C. at 973-852-3041 or fill out our online contact form.